Puerto Rico, otherwise known as the ‘island of enchantment,’ is a magical place for an escape. Visitors can explore the colorful streets of San Juan, relax on the sprawling, windswept beaches, and eat their way through the lively foodie scene. Plus, natural wonders like the El Yunque rainforest and the glittering bioluminescent bays are ideal for adventure travelers and nature enthusiasts. If you’re still not convinced, read on to find out why you should be heading to Puerto Rico for your next trip. You can track flight deals into Puerto Rico as they arise and also take a look at these recommended accommodation options.
Puerto Rico’s coastline is covered with stunning beaches no matter which direction you head. Just outside of San Juan’s historical center, you’ll find Condado. This sandy spot has plenty of dining options and water sports nearby. Heading east, you’ll find spots like Luquillo and the wild sands of the Humacao Nature Park (watch for monitor lizards!). The west side of the island is for surfers. Some of the bigger waves can be found along beaches near Rincon. Veering south, visitors can enjoy the towering red cliffs of Rojo Cabo.
Yes, Puerto Rico is an island itself, but it also has some tiny islands that truly define paradise. You may have heard of Vieques, where horses graze freely among the white sand beaches. There’s also the white sands and verdant foliage of Culebra. If you love sea turtles, you may spot them on the small island of Caja de los Muertos. Snorkelers will love Cayo Aurora — also known as Gilligan’s Island.
It’s part of the United States
Here at Winetraveler, while we love international travel, it’s no secret that Covid-19 has complicated things when it comes to leaving the country. If you visit Puerto Rico, you won’t have to worry about the many other international travel woes. Puerto Rico uses the US dollar, many locals speak English, and you won’t have any jet lag. Plus, it’s just a 3-4 hour flight away from many US cities. Make sure to check travel requirements before booking and visiting.
Destinations like San Juan and Ponce are colorful, vibrant hubs that allow travelers to experience a more cultural side to the island. Wander the cobblestone streets lined with bold and bright buildings and don’t miss San Juan’s famed San Felipe de Morro castle at sunset. Meanwhile, in Ponce, explore the famous art museum, the seafront boardwalk, and check out the Creole architectural style. Created in the late 19th century, the style blends both wood and masonry, adding in Victorian, Spanish, French, and Neoclassical elements. It’s reminiscent of spots like New Orleans.
While you can eat delectable cuisine all over the island, San Juan is a foodie capital for sure. Whether it’s a hearty plate of mofongo, a dish of fried plantains mixed with garlic, olive oil, and salt, or chic tapas along the beach, you can enjoy any kind of dining or drinking experience in San Juan. The Santurce neighborhood, a hub for street art, also has a number of new international restaurants to choose from. The Miramar food truck park is perfect for quick eats on the go. Those who love rum can take tours or mixology classes at the Casa Bacardi.
The only tropical rainforest part of the US
El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest part of the U.S. National Forest Service. Hike, swim in waterfalls, or simply admire the tropical flora and fauna around you. Although some of the trails and areas of the forest remain closed due to damage from prior hurricanes, you can still explore a large portion of it. Expect to spot tropical birds, frogs, and maybe even bats if you look hard enough.
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See a Bioluminescent Bay
Only five of these very special natural wonders exist in the world, and Puerto Rico is home to three of them. Thanks to an excess of organisms called dinoflagellates, the bays actually glow. Explore these magnificent glowing waters by kayak or glass-bottomed boat.
Puerto Rico is a sunny paradise easily accessible from the United States. Arrive via many US hubs to the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), and car rental is an easy way to get around the island. Note that it’s best to visit outside of the Atlantic hurricane season, so plan your trip between December and May for the sunniest, driest weather. You can find flight options here.